Killer bus driver denied bail
Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The 41-year-old Zimbabwean Intercape driver, who was arrested by South African authorities while attempting to flee that country through Beitbridge Border Post, was yesterday denied bail at Polokwane Magistrate Court.
George Themba of Harare was arrested at the border post on Monday morning when he attempted to skip the border hidden under luggage in a trailer of another cross-border bus.
Themba is facing nine counts of culpable homicide and another for reckless driving after he lost control of an Intercape bus, which was travelling to Johannesburg from Harare last Friday, killing nine Zimbabweans on the spot.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said Themba had been remanded in custody to October 2 pending further investigations.
“The arrested suspect in this matter, George Themba aged 41, who is a resident of Harare in Zimbabwe has made his first appearance today (yesterday) before the Polokwane Magistrate Court on the following charges : nine counts of culpable homicide and reckless and/or negligent driving,” he said.
“He was denied bail and his cases were postponed to October 2, 2018 for further police investigations. This appearance follows his arrest for a horrific accident where he later tried to cross the border to Zimbabwe after he was taken to hospital with other 51 injured passengers for medical treatment.
“As intensive investigations by the police unfolded, especially on the possible cause of that accident, he then disappeared following his discharge from hospital and fled towards Beitbridge port of entry. The police were then tipped-off, they swiftly responded and subsequently, the driver was caught hiding inside the trailer, trying to illegally cross the border to Zimbabwe.”
He said charges were that nine passengers lost their lives during a bus crash which occurred along the N1 South Road in the early hours of Friday last week.
The bus, he said was travelling from Polokwane towards Gauteng Province when the driver lost control and it overturned.
“The bus was carrying 61 occupants, including the driver and the crew, nine of the 61 passengers were certified dead at the scene and the other injured people, including the driver were taken to different hospitals for medical treatment. The identification process of all the deceased is still unfolding. The police investigations are continuing,” said Col Ngoepe.
Zimbabwe Consular-General to South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said they were finalising the identification processes pending repatriation of the deceased’s remains.
He said seven people were still admitted at Polokwane Hospital, where one person was in the intensive care unit.